Many people reach out to The Arc of Monmouth asking how they can be an advocate for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). That’s why we wanted to share a story about recent efforts made by Mallory Rivers, a vocational counselor at the Work Opportunity Center. By reading about her push for ramp installation at Hance Park to provide wheelchair access, you can get a better understanding of what true advocacy looks like.
Mallory’s Work with The Arc of Monmouth
As mentioned previously, Mallory Rivers is a vocational counselor at the Work Opportunity Center (WOC) through The Arc of Monmouth. This is a program that offers a wide variety of opportunities to individuals in Monmouth County with I/DD. These opportunities include the following:
- Job Skills Training
- Self Advocacy Groups
- Employment referrals
- And more...
Staff members and volunteers such as Mallory assist individuals in developing the vocational skills, and social behaviors necessary for successful future employment.
When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, Mallory put her talents to work at Newman Springs Group Home, one of The Arc of Monmouth’s residential living facilities. At Newman Springs, staff members like Mallory provide habilitation, support, and monitoring services to individuals with I/DD. Although Mallory has only been with Newman Springs for a little more than a year, she can often be found going above and beyond the call of duty to make sure the women who reside there are receiving the absolute best access to quality care and plenty of fun! She is a true advocate for the residents she serves.
The Lack of Access at Hance Park
It was Mallory’s passion for providing her residents with the best that led her to advocate for change at a local community park. Hance Park, at the end of William Street, offers a quaint space for people to come and enjoy basketball courts, playground equipment, or simply a sunny afternoon outside in the fresh air. There was just one problem: Without any wheelchair ramps, access to the park was challenging not only for some of the residents of Newman Springs, but also for any community members who use a wheelchair, walker, or other form of assistance getting around.
Mallory saw the challenge at hand and didn’t wait to start advocating for a change to make the park more inclusive for all.
Mallory’s Push for Ramp Installation
Without hesitation, Mallory got ahold of the Tinton Falls Borough and inquired about making the necessary changes at the park. She explained that by adding a simple ramp, easier access could be provided to ALL members of the community, allowing more individuals to enjoy the playground, basketball courts, and walking path. It didn’t take long before Mallory received a response. Just a week and a half later, the ramp installation was complete!
Thanks to Mallory and her advocacy efforts for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, there is one more place in our community where all can feel welcome and included.
What to Take Away from Mallory’s Story
Mallory’s story is a great example of what true advocacy looks like. The ramp installation at Hance Park proves that a single person’s efforts can have a tremendous impact on those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, along with the community as a whole. So, keep this story in mind as you move forward, and remember that your support matters!
Here’s how you can help…
- Are you looking for ways to make a difference in your community, like Mallory, for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities? Learn more about how to volunteer through The Arc of Monmouth here.
- Unable to volunteer, but still want to make sure advocacy efforts are being supported? There are many ways that you can donate to help ensure available programming and support in and around your community. For more details about our community wishlist, personal fundraising, car donations, and more, check out our donations page, here.
- Want to join our mission and enjoy a day of fun outside in the process? Don’t forget to mark your calendars for our annual Golf Classic. Last year, due to the pandemic, we were unable to host this wonderful event. Fortunately, we are back and hope you’re ready to hit the greens for a good cause!.